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Company Number: 630564

Charity Number: 20202348

CHY Number: 22344

 

©2019 by Empower the Family Company Limited by Guarantee

Educate, Empower, Prosper

 

Vision 

Empowering young people (18-23) from disadvantaged areas with the key of education, so they can unlock barriers and prosper.

Mission

Our mission is to support young disadvantaged people (18-23) in Ireland, with the determination and ability, to successfully complete university. 

How The Empower Journey started

 

Empower the Family CLG is a charity founded in 2018 by Deborah Somorin. Deborah trained as an accountant in PwC's Assurance practice and is now a consultant in PwC’s Advisory practice. You might recognise her name from the Late Late show last year where she told the very personal story of her journey from homelessness to accounting to help raise funds for a homeless charity who had supported her at the time. Every time she shared her story at previous fundraisers and including this one, people asked: “what can we do to help other determined single parents change the trajectory of their economic situations?”

 

When you factor in the supply issue for childcare and housing there is no single organization, in Ireland, that a student who is also a single parent could apply to, to have both of those needs met. In comparison, in the UK, family student accommodation is a very common offering by universities. For example, the University of Edinburgh has 65 apartments available for family accommodation.


Call To Action: Deborah created an online petition the weekend of the Late late, to gauge the level of interest from the community of single parents for a project like this. That petition raised over 12 thousand signatures. We received hundreds of comments from people who felt this was a project that would have made or will make a significant difference in their lives. As a result, Empower the Family CLG gained philanthropic funding of ~ €517k and plan to open student accommodation for disadvantaged young people with an onsite creche.

Next Steps

A few months ago, we secured the support of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) and Dublin City Council (DCC) for our project. With their support, we have gained Approved Housing Body (AHB) status with the Department of Housing. As an AHB we can now access the Capital Assistance Scheme to help fund the accommodation side of our project. You can find out more about the scheme here (page 8 and 9).

The board of Empower the Family decided that in light of the homelessness crisis being experienced by people in our target demographic, we should be providing more than 10 apartment units. We now plan to provide 20 apartments for single parents in university, with a creche on site. The creche will be funded by our founding donors through their very generous donations to date. We also now plan to provide 10 apartments for young people transitioning out of state care who are attending university, i.e. in aftercare.

We plan to build a collaborative and sustainable student community in the apartment complex and we are very close to securing a DCC owned site in Ballymun which will enable us to do that. We have built an incredible team which includes some of the best companies in Ireland and their principals. Due to the scale of the project expanding, we are now working towards delivering this project by September 2021. That is an optimistic timeline, with the majority of the delay being caused by the public procurement and planning approval process we are now going through. However, our team is committed and focused on our shared vision of supporting disadvantaged young people in Ireland, with the determination and ability, to successfully complete university. We are prepared and willing to do whatever it takes to make that vision a reality.

Awards

Winner: Junior Chambers International Ireland, Ten Outstanding Young Person Award 2018 for Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership

Winner: Junior Chambers International Dublin, Ten Outstanding Young Person Award 2018 for Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership

Finalist: Social Entrepreneur Ireland Awards 2018

Finalist: Women Mean Business Newstalk Female Entrepreneur Award 2018

Facts and Figures

'Education Is An Ornament In prosperity & A Refuge In Adversity.'- Aristotle

This table shows the number of students/pupils, in Ireland, who are also parents. The data shows that married/cohabiting moms and single moms represent the majority of parents in education. Given the poverty statistics for single parents, detailed below, we have chosen to focus on single parents (moms and dads) for our first location. We hope to provide family student accommodation to a wider demographic in our subsequent locations. 

Source: CSO census data - Population Aged 15 Years and Over in Private Households Enumerated as Couples or Single Parents 2011 to 2016 (Number) by Principal Economic Status, Sex, Type of Family Unit and Census Year

The reality for single parents in Ireland...

​​

  • "1 in 5 people in Ireland live in a one-parent family

  • One parent families have the highest consistent poverty rate of 24.6% of any group in Irish society

  • Those living in households with one adult and one or more children aged under 18 had the highest deprivation rate in 2016 at 50.1%"

Source: https://onefamily.ie/media-publications/facts-figures

Childcare

  • "Childcare costs in Ireland are among the highest in the OECD. Single parents, as the sole carers of their children, are more strongly affected by these costs. They simply have no one else to bear the responsibility of caring for their children.

  • One Family stated in their submission to the Committee Affordable and accessible childcare and afterschool care are essential in-work supports which must be provided to enable lone parents to engage in the labour market. Families headed by a single parent who participate in the paid workforce, or are engaged in educational or job training programmes, require care of their children."

Source: https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/joint_committee_on_social_protection/reports/2017/2017-06-15_report-on-the-position-of-lone-parents-in-ireland_en.pdf

Maintenance

  • "Ireland has no state agency with responsibility for child maintenance payments

  • Parents are forced to seek payments through an adversarial and costly court system

  • Maintenance, when obtained, is deducted at a rate of 100% from rent supplement and 50% from other social welfare payment

  • Single parents in receipt of welfare are required to seek maintenance from the second parent

  • In Ireland, 35% of single parents are in receipt of child maintenance payments

  • In other jurisdictions such as Sweden, New Zealand and Canada, the state is involved in facilitating the transfer of maintenance to parents

  • In Sweden, if the parent fails to or cannot pay maintenance, the state provides the payment and recoups the money from the liable parent subject to their ability to pay"

Source: https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/joint_committee_on_social_protection/reports/2017/2017-06-15_report-on-the-position-of-lone-parents-in-ireland_en.pdf

Where else has this been done in the world?

 

"New Family Student Housing units and a new Early Education Services complex will support the educational needs of student families and faculty/staff alike" - University of California, Santa Cruz

Family student housing with an on-site creche provides an additional benefit to parents as highlighted by:

 

 

Other universities that provide family student accommodation:

THE

TEAM

“We want to support disadvantaged young people (18-23) in Ireland, with the determination and ability, to successfully complete university. We want to do this because it changes not only the trajectory of that woman/man’s life but it also changes the trajectory of their child’s life. My son Liam and I are living proof of this.

 

By creating role models in disadvantaged communities we also hope to change the trajectory of the lives of other young people, with/without children, who live within these communities.

 

We need you to help us to make that happen.”

- Deborah Somorin, Founder, Empower the Family 

 

At 13 Deborah was homeless, at 14 she was pregnant and at 15 she was a mother to a son called Liam. At 25 Deborah is an assistant manager at PwC. Deborah completed an Accounting and Finance degree in DCU in 2014. She then went on to complete a Masters in Accounting in DCU in 2015 which helped earn her a place at PwC. She began sharing her story, in 2017, to help change the stigma attached with youth homelessness. Apart from founding Empower the Family, Deborah is also a board member on the board of directors for Chartered Accountants Support which supports members and students of Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Some media links:

https://www.google.ie/amp/s/www.image.ie/amp/life/changemakers-deborah-somorin-120350

 

https://pwc.blogs.com/gender_agenda/2019/03/teen-mum-at-14-qualified-chartered-accountant-at-24.html

 

https://www.empowerthefamilyireland.com/news/chartered-accountants-ireland-annual-dinner-2019

 

https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/Accountancy-Ireland/Articles2/Interviews/Latest-News/Article-item/being-the-change

 

https://www.rte.ie/lifestyle/living/2019/0308/1035085-iwd-how-one-woman-went-from-homeless-to-launching-a-charity/

https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=1733123366738609&_rdr

 

https://radio.rte.ie/radio1highlights/tag/deborah-somorin/

 

https://soundcloud.com/irelandunfiltered/deborah-somorin-homeless-at-13-pregnant-at-14-how-she-wants-to-change-ireland-for-single-parents

 

https://www.google.ie/amp/s/www.rsvplive.ie/news/irish-news/irish-woman-deborah-somorin-speaks-14278386.amp

 

https://youtu.be/-tMYJBT_WDg

 

https://mobile.twitter.com/cuttingedgerte/status/1116080739236241408

 

https://gradireland.com/events/gradireland-live/seminars

 

https://m.facebook.com/gradireland/posts/2193952437310180

 

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/lifestyle/features/meet-the-a-listers-of-zeminar-2018-876043.html

 

https://youtu.be/drhMVMt0m30

 

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6528687465279029248

Deborah Somorin

Alice has a BA in Applied Social Science, is a qualified & experienced Social Worker and has an MSc (Mgt) Organisational & Strategic Management from Trinity College. She has over 30 years experience of working in the health and social services sector at senior management level with government departments, local authorities & the statutory and non-governmental sector in England, Scotland & Ireland. Her practice fields of knowledge and expertise include social inclusion, equality, human rights, child protection and mental health. ​

In the period 2000-2010 she worked for the Irish Health Services Executive as Assistant National Director for Social Inclusion before leaving and setting up Súil Eile consultancy. Súil Eile consultancy works with a wide range of organisations advising on organisational structure, strategy, funding streams and policy development.

Alice O'Flynn

Niall graduated from UCD with a law degree. He is currently the Google Finance Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Niall previously worked at Vodafone as the Group Finance Operations Director.

Niall O'Sullivan

Keelin currently works as a senior associate in Deals in PwC Dublin, specialising in M&A advisory. As a member of the Transaction Services team, she has worked on due diligence projects (buy side and sell side) advising Irish and international clients in a wide range of industries including hospitality, construction, healthcare, hospitality, and non-profit. She is a part qualified Chartered Accountant.

Prior to joining PwC she graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a first class honours degree in Law and Business, gaining experience in customer service, legal research and transaction services through work experience she completed alongside her studies. 

Keelin O'Sullivan

Mary Marjoram has over 20 years experience running residential care homes in Ireland and nursing homes in the UK which she owns. She is also the chief operating officer of Dun na Nog. Mary is also Ciara’s mother.

Mary Marjoram

Alan studied English Literature, Philosophy and Theology in All Hallows College (now DCU). Alan then went on to work in the field of social care for several years, managing Dun na Nog for a number of years.

Alan Buckley

Georgina (George) Magna is committed to growing the impact of non-profits and social entrepreneurs through improved fundraising, building a sales culture and delivering transformational coaching for leaders and their teams.

She has worked in Development for 20 years and has over 12 years of experience in securing Major Gifts in Ireland and the USA.

Georgina spearheaded the introduction of the For Impact methodology into Ireland in 2007, working closely with the late ForImpact founder, Tom Suddes. Since then, she has trained and coached 100’s of non-profit organisations of all sizes in Ireland, UK and the USA, drawing on her wealth of knowledge, experience and passion.

As the only Trainer and Coach in the For Impact methodology in Ireland, she is deeply engaged with the non-profit community, increasing the professionalism, structure and visibility of the organisations she works with.

In addition to her business and fundraising qualifications, she feels that the key to success comes from building great relationships and using life experiences. Her goal is seeing people and projects reach their full potential.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/georginaneal/

Georginamagna@gmail.com

Georgina (George) Magna

Laura Fitzsimons graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2016 as a Bachelor of Business Studies (B.B.S.). She currently works as an auditor in the Asset and Wealth Management Department of PwC in Dublin, Ireland.

Laura Fitzsimons

Katie Moyna is a Learning and Development Specialist with A&L Goodbody. Prior to this post she worked as an Organisational Development Executive in Enterprise Ireland. Her educational background is in primarily focused on the development of people. With a BA in Psychology and Social and Political Science from the National University of Ireland, Galway and MSc in Work and Organisational Psychology from Maastricht University. She also holds an e-Learning instructional designer Diploma from the University of Newcastle and a higher diploma in Business Management from University of Ulster. Katie grew up in a family business in Monaghan. She is passionate about Irish Businesses and has a keen interest in people, specifically the role work plays in people's lives and how organisations can benefit from making work enjoyable and purposeful for their employees.

Katie Moyna

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs)

Empower the Family CLG is working towards accomplishing 10 out of 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Specifically:

Goal 1 - No Poverty

Goal 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

Goal 4 - Quality Education 

Goal 5 - Gender Equality

Goal 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Goal 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

Goal 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Goal 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Goal 13 - Climate Action

You can find out more about the goals here.

You can also find out more about Ireland's progress in achieving the goals here

All available Voluntary National Reviews can be accessed here.

 

Let's Talk!

Get in touch with Empower the Family to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.